Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Shopgirl by Steve Martin last night. I thought it was a decent story, but the problem is that he kept telling me things instead of showing me, and so I felt very distant from the characters. Kinda like I was hearing it all second-hand. There was no real connection.

But it was heartening to me to know that even an accomplished actor like Steve Martin, whom I respect very much, is still struggling as an author. I’d like to think that this book was published mostly on name recognition, but I wouldn’t bet on it – the style is very similar to a lot of short stories out there, loved by artsy people who despise the commercial novel for some reason. I guess their feeling is that for a book (or a painting or anything else) to be really worthwhile, it has to be difficult to understand and require several readings or even prolonged study to fully “get.” I don’t have that kind of patience. I could see that with a poem – but even then, if I don’t get an inkling of meaning out of it the first time around, I’m unlikely to give it a second chance. Something has to draw me in. Something, that is, other than the recommendations of my artsy peers. They’re all a bunch of hacks anyway.

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